Matter of fact

I am an intellectual and cultural historian of early modern science, on Habilitation track at the Institute of Philosophy,  History of Literature, Science and Technology of Technische Universität, Berlin.

I am currently the holder of a 3-year (Aug. 2017-Dec. 2020) project grant, “The Weight of Things. Quantification of Matter and the Exchange of Technical and Learned Knowledge in Early Modern Europe,” financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG). In February 2020, I was awarded an European Union Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship with Princeton University and the University of Venice, Ca’ Foscari. I will work with Anthony Grafton and Marco Sgarbi on a project titled “Antiquitates. Empirical Knowledge and Antiquarian Architecture in Sixteenth-Century Venice.”

My work focuses on the origins and development of empiricism in early modern Europe. I am especially interested in practical knowledge and the history of experimentation (broadly conceived). I look at fields like natural philosophy, instrument making and material culture, and antiquarianism. I also have a strong interest in early modern England: particularly, the early Stuart period and Francis Bacon.

I am originally from Italy. There, I studied Greek and Latin, history and philosophy and got a B.Sc. in Physics. I also studied in England and the United States (Lancaster University, Imperial College, and Indiana University) and completed a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science at Indiana University (2011), with a dissertation on Francis Bacon, experiment, and early Stuart culture. My supervisor at Indiana was Bill Newman.

Afterward, I was a fellow at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia, a postdoctoral fellow at the Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge and a senior research fellow at the Vossius Center for History of Humanities and Sciences (University of Amsterdam). I also worked for eight years in two leading digital history projects: The Chymistry of Isaac Newton and The Newton Project.

Recent and upcoming talks:

August 2020. European Society for the History of Science Conference, Bologna.

June 2020. Plenary Session of Scientiae. Disciplines of Knowing in the Early Modern Period, Amsterdam (co-organized with Anna Marie Roos; postponed, June 2021).

April 2020. Università Roma Tre (cancelled)

February 2020. Berlin Prime Matter Workshop. Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.

June 2019. Beyond Ancients and Moderns Workshop, All Souls College, University of Oxford.

Recent work:

“The Early Modern Study of Ancient Measures in Comparative Perspective: A Preliminary Investigation“(submitted) in Dmitri Levitin and Ian Maclean, eds., Beyond Ancients and Moderns. Comparative Approaches to the Reception of the Classical Tradition in Early Modern Europe, c. 1600–1750.Oxford-Warburg Studies. Oxford University Press.

Editor of The Exploration and Experimentation on the Weight and Density of Substances in the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries, Special Issue of Early Science and Medicine (forthcoming, 25.4, October 2020)

Johannes Kepler and the Exploration of the Weight of Substances in the Long Sixteenth Century. (forthcoming, Early Science and Medicine, 25.4, October 2020)

Alchemy and the Electric Spirit in Isaac Newton’s General Scholium. in S. Ducheyne, S. Mandelbrote and S. Snobelen (eds.), Newton’s General Scholium After 300 Years (forthcoming, 2020)

Beyond Recipes. The Baconian Natural and Experimental Histories as an Epistemic Genre. (forthcoming, Centaurus, 62 (3) August 2020)